Worth Fighting For

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the television series Arrow and I'm not making any money from this fic

Summary: Contains spoilers for the first series of Arrow. When Oliver goes to talk to Diggle, they do more than just talk. The friend or partner square in the Advent Holiday Bingo.

Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for the first two series of Arrow; some mentions of violence

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Diggle opened the door to his apartment and frowned when he saw Oliver stood outside. To anyone not in the know, the other man looked relaxed. Calm. Like the typical spoiled rich kid. But even in his relaxed, casual stance, Diggle could see the tension in his body. The way his eyes moved constantly, always looking for a threat.

"You know where I live?" Diggle broke the silence.

"I've always known." Oliver cleared his throat. "Can I come in?"

"Yeah." Diggle stepped back from the door, allowing Oliver to step inside, and then closed it behind him. He turned to face the other man and waited.

Oliver shifted his weight. "I came to apologise."

"You've talked to Felicity?"

A slight grimace was the only reaction Oliver gave. "I didn't tell her I was coming here, but she's been telling me to come and speak to you. I'm pretty sure she misses you." He hesitated. "The job's still there, you know. If you want it."

Was Oliver there because he wanted Diggle to come back, or because he was hoping to keep Felicity happy? "I'm not gonna be able to come back if you won't keep me in the loop, man. People died. Good people. If you'd told me you were taking off, I might have been able to save them."

"You're right." Oliver looked at him and a more earnest note crept into his voice. "I know. And I apologise."

Diggle wished he could trust that, but he knew how manipulative Oliver could be. He wouldn't put it past the other man to pretend remorse just to make him feel bad and agree to return. He shook his head. "I'm not going to stand by and let you self-destruct, man."

"Then don't."

"Then don't?" Diggle repeated. "What do you suggest I do instead?"

Oliver shrugged. "I've learned pain can be a very good motivator."

"Pain?" Not for the first time, Diggle wondered exactly what Oliver had gone through while stranded on the island. "Are you talking about me fighting you? Or, I don't know, standing still while I hit you?"

Oliver breathed in deep. He didn't make a verbal response, but his hands went to his belt. He unbuckled it and slid the leather through the loops, then doubled it and held it out to Diggle.

"You're not serious."

"It's not the first time." Oliver's expression didn't change; his hand didn't waver. "You're right. I should have kept you in the loop. So you can hit me with the belt until you feel better about coming back to work with me."

Diggle slowly took the belt. "I can't imagine your parents did that."

"You're right. They didn't."

Diggle wanted to ask who it was who had effectively taught this to the other man, but something in Oliver's eyes warned him off. A hint of darkness and pain. As if Diggle had tried to touch a healing wound. Clearing his throat, he put his curiosity aside and looked down at the belt. Whether or not he was being manipulated into this, he couldn't deny that he was starting to think it would be a good idea. Not because he wanted to hurt the other man...hurt his friend...but because he thought it might prove to Oliver that there was more to consider than just himself and what he wanted to do.

Oliver must have seen the decision on Diggle's face. Without a word, he took the few steps needed to reach the couch and bent over, palms resting on the back.

Diggle knew he could call a halt to this. He could laugh it off. Oliver wouldn't force the issue, he was sure. And Diggle could just go back to working with the other man.

But then he'd be doing nothing but waiting for the next time Oliver chose to do his own thing and damn everyone else. He'd be waiting for the next person to suffer because the Arrow wouldn't trust those around him.

Moving to Oliver's side, Diggle placed his hand on the other man's back. He lifted the doubled belt and let it land on the seat of the other man's pants.

Oliver didn't react. Didn't even show he felt anything. It wasn't a surprise, but as he let the belt fly a second and third time, Diggle couldn't help being concerned. If Oliver didn't react, how did he know he wasn't using too much force?

Diggle was careful to hold back on his full strength as he let the belt land all the way down to Oliver's thighs. The other man didn't react until Diggle started bringing the belt down from the top; and then he began to shift from one foot to the other, even though he made no sound.

Oliver had told him that pain worked, but after completing the second circuit, Diggle was starting to figure there was more to it than just a thrashing.

Diggle started to bring the belt down for a third circuit. Partway through, he began to speak. "It's not about taking Deadshot out, you know? Or changing the plan on me." He pressed down more firmly on the other man's back and began to bring the belt down a fraction harder. "You didn't trust me enough to tell me what you were gonna do. I didn't think we just worked together, damn it. I thought I was your friend."

"You are." Oliver's voice was earnest and he suddenly sounded much younger; closer to his actual age, rather than the dark maturity he'd demonstrated since their first meeting. "I'm sorry I didn't keep you in the loop. I'm sorry...I didn't trust you."

Oliver's whole body was trembling now. Diggle couldn't hear tears, but he could see that the other man was slumped over the couch, every so often shifting one foot or the other.

Diggle cleared his throat. "You gonna keep things from me again?"

"No. I'll tell you next time. I promise."

Diggle placed the belt on the couch and removed his hand from Oliver's back. "Okay," he said softly.

Oliver stood up carefully. His face was flushed, but other than that, there was no sign of the thrashing he'd just taken. "You'll come back?" he asked hopefully.

"Yeah, man. Like I said before...you need someone to remind you." Diggle smiled.

The answering smile Oliver gave was sad and he closed his eyes for a second as he said softly, "Yeah...I still need that."

The End